North Kivu: MONUSCO and P-DRRCS facilitate the reintegration of a new group of ex-combatants

These ex-combatants who fled the bush voluntarily surrendered to MONUSCO in Rutshuru a few weeks ago. While waiting for their social reintegration, they are usually billeted and cared for at the MONUSCO base in Munigi for a few weeks / Photos Alain Wandimoyi

7 Mar 2023

North Kivu: MONUSCO and P-DRRCS facilitate the reintegration of a new group of ex-combatants

Carine Tope

"I spent several months in the bush as a member of an armed group. I can assure you that MONUSCO is neither closely nor remotely associated with the M23. This is speculation created to sow doubt and discredit MONUSCO. I ask the Congolese people not to be deceived, nor to be mistaken in their targeting," said Adélard Malikwabo, an ex-combatant who was officially demobilised during a ceremony held on 28 February 2023 at the MONUSCO base in Kanyarutchinya, about 7 kilometres from Goma, in North Kivu.

The ceremony, organised by MONUSCO and the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Community Rehabilitation and Stabilisation Programme (P-DDRCS), marked the return to their families of a dozen former combatants who decided to leave the bush and give up their weapons to return to civilian life. 

These ex-combatants, including seven Congolese and three Rwandans, fled the bush and voluntarily surrendered to MONUSCO in Rutshuru a few weeks ago.

The Mission, through its demobilisation section (DDR), then sent them to its base in Kanyarutchinya, where they underwent the official demobilisation process before being handed over to P-DRRCS officials who organised their return to their families.

While waiting for their social reintegration, they were billeted and cared for at the MONUSCO base for a few weeks. These ex-combatants say they are happy to join the cause of peace after spending several months in the bush committing acts of violence against civilians in various localities in North Kivu province.

Call for patriotism

During the official ceremony, the deputy coordinator of the P-DDRCS, Joseph SUKISA NDAYAMBAJE, thanked MONUSCO for the supervision and preparation of these young people who have decided to reintegrate their communities. "I particularly thank the commander of the Moroccan contingent of MONUSCO for the work done", he insisted.

Joseph SUKISA NDAYAMBAJE also thanked these ex-combatants for having followed the path of reason, that of laying down their arms, favouring peace and returning to civilian life to participate in the development of the country. "The Congolese government thanks you through our P-DDRCS programme; you have made the right choice, the choice of reason," he said.

He added: "As you prefer to return to your respective villages and pursue civilian life, the P-DDRCS will accompany you so that you do not have integration problems. We ask you not to take up arms again. »

Before closing his speech, the P-DDRCS deputy coordinator urged them to be model and disciplined citizens before the administrative authorities and to be exemplary citizens in their communities and villages. "Your people must see that you have gone through the MONUSCO and P-DDRCS DDRRR demobilisation process and that you deserve their trust," he said.

"In the forest, there is nothing good.”

Innocent MUHIRE, one of the Rwandan ex-combatants, said he regretted taking up arms against innocent civilians. He called on his former comrades still in the bush to surrender in order to return to a normal civilian life with their families.

"I call on those who are still hesitating to choose the right side: come so we can build our countries. I left the bush to learn a trade, I will work and rebuild my family. There is nothing good in the forest," he said, reassured.

Adélard Malikwabo, a former Congolese combatant, insisted that the link between MONUSCO and the M23 rebels is pure invention and disinformation. He also appealed to young people to give up their weapons and take up a noble cause, "peace". He also expressed the wish to train as a car mechanic to take care of his family. His wish found a favourable echo with the P-DDRCS.